Monday, March 19, 2012

Karen Combs --- Stolen Quilts! Pass The Word!

This blog network of ours seems to have become an avenue for getting info out on stolen quilts.

While I am so glad to be able to help, each time I post something about the ever increasing numbers of stolen quilts I feel sicker and sicker ---who is next?

These are the quilts of Quiltmakers that I have admired and revered for years and years. It’s making me second guess the way I travel with my quilts to the point where I feel like I am bordering on insanity.

I’ve been asked to help spread the word in hopes that we might find some leads in finding Karen’s quilts.

Her own blog with the full story can be found HERE. She writes:

It is something every traveling quilt teacher fears, her quilts will be stolen or lost. Unfortunately, it has happened to me. I’m heartbroken. . . please share the images and story below. I hope they will be found.


On March 16, 2012, sometime between midnight and 6am at the Courtyard New Braunfels River Village, my rental car’s driver window was broken and my teaching suitecase was stolen. The hotel is located at 750 IH 35 North in New Braunfels, Texas. The police were called, they stated the break-in looked like the work of a professional.


It was a “smash and grab”. The vandals did not know what they were taking and it will have no value to them. It means the world to me. . .

Inside the suitcase were the quilts from my popular Patchwork Illusions class. I also lost all my teaching supplies and step-by-step demos for the class.


If you live in New Braunfels or anywhere in Texas, please check local yard sales, flea markets and pawn shops for the quilts. Everyone, please forward this blog posting to every quilter and quilt shop you know and ask them to forward it to everyone they know.


If you find one of my quilts or quilt blocks, please contact me atkaren@karencombs.com

Thank you for all your help,


Please forward this post to EVERYONE. Be watching things like Craigslist and Ebay ---let your twitter peeps know, the news groups, email lists, quilt guild members, facebook, message boards – you guys know the drill ----we have been doing this too often, and we will keep doing it to get the word out.

This is one thing we CAN NOT get numb to --- we HAVE to remain outraged with this repeated scenario and do what we can to bring these quilts back!

Thanks for all your help in spreading the word….we have an awesome network of quilters to help get the word out ---


  1. I put this out on my facebook page...this is so sad. Karen taught a workshop here a couple years ago and she is a really nice person...

  2. Have you checked out shipping your quilts to your destinations from UPS or FedX? I wonder if that would be safer for you.

  3. I once had the lid to the trunk of my car stolen at a Courtyard.... long, but true story...

  4. My heart goes out to Karen. How devastating. But, to Donna's point, this is the second big-name quilt teacher who's had quilts stolen from a car where they were left overnight. This also happened to Robin Pandolph a few years ago.

    DO NOT leave stuff in cars -- expecially if they're visible. Most especially don't leave stuff in rental cars in hotel lots. Thieves think they're getting valuable electronics and salesmen's samples.

    This is also a good reminder to mark your quilts prominently with identifying information -- perhaps in the seam allowances of the quilt edges where they will be covered by the binding. If you can say, "My name is under the binding in the top left corner of the back of the quilt." you are a good way to proving ownership.

    I know it's a pain to "drag" your quilts inside each night, but you HAVE to do it.

  5. May the hands that took the quilts burn until the quilts are returned to the rightful owner. May their bodies be in turmoil and their nights without rest until they turn their selves in to authorities begging them to take the quilts! May the victim in turn forgive them and bless them with a quilt of their own, which will bring restoration to their body, soul and spirit. One can run but never hide from the Truth, and may the truth in this situation be made manifest this day restoring all that has been lost.

  6. I'm so sorry this happened however, NEVER leave anything inside a car that you don't want taken. Thieves have a need to steal...it's a sickness. And we're all smart enough by now, or should be to know better about stuff in cars.

  7. This is so sad! She just spoke to our guild about 10 days ago and we got to see these quilts in person. They are gorgeous. I hope they are found. She must be devastated.

  8. Bonnie, These are beautiful quilts! This is so sad. Are any of the lost quilts you blog about ever found?

  9. As Donna said, DO NOT leave your bags in plain sight on car seats or even on the floorboards. Lock them in your trunk. For added safety, put them in your trunk while at another location (airport?) than where you are spending the night. That means don't transfer the bags to your trunk just before walking away from your car. Criminals are likely watching!

  10. This just makes me sick. What is wrong with people? I grew up in that area and was just there 10 days ago. I sent this to a quilting friend who lives 20 minutes from there and asked her to get spread the word.

  11. The police in our city tell us often to leave "NOTHING" on the seats of a car anywhere. Your window can be broken for as little as a raincoat or umbrella. Let alone a suitcase or a business case. Always put everything in your trunk or hotel room or take it inside. Sad but a necessity.

  12. I live just North of New Branfels, I will keep my eyes pealed. So sad, and you are probably right, they crook that did this had no idea what they were getting.

  13. These quilts, along with many others, are now posted on the Lost Quilt Come Home website at

  14. I read this earlier and may heart is heavy with the knowledge that they are possibly gone forever. This isn't a mistake of picking up one quilt by mistake this is like the guy that stole my computer and all the pictures of my last trip to San Francisco. This guy is a pro, the police probably even strongly suspect who he is, but catching him will be impossible since he hit the window with a buzz stick and took every thing he touched with him. Even if they catch him with the quilts he will just say he bought them from someone else and didn't know they were stolen. I will keep my eyes open, but this will be a tough one.

  15. Passed on to all my Face Book quilt groups. Hope her quilts are found.

  16. Anonymous11:37 PM EDT

    Bonnie - Can I echo "LEAVE NOTHING TO BE SEEN IN YOUR CAR" --- no matter how tired you are, how at ease you feel etc ... you have made it far too easy to steal your property. That said, I feel so bad these beautiful quilts were stolen.

    A friend in So FL had a quilt stolen at was on display as part of a publlic art viewing, FROM A POLICE STATION! The force was right on it. Decided it had to have been someone everyone would not feel uncomfortable with seeing remove it ... yes, it was one of the cleaning staff. He wanted to give this beautiful quilt to a loved one. No matter - he did steal it. At least my friend got her quilt back in great shape. In fact still in the bag he had put the quilt in to get it out of the station.

    Let us pray these quilts come home -- safe and sound. And yes, spread the word.


  17. Anonymous9:20 AM EDT

    I am so sick to hear this happened in my neck of the woods. Unfortunately, it happens too much here. Whole trailers have been stolen from hotel and motel parking lots in central Texas. My daughter had a smash and grab done on her car in their driveway. The only thing they took was the change on the console.

  18. Susanginfl9:38 AM EDT

    I am so sorry to hear/read this terrible story! I recently heard that quilters are microchip ping (the kind installed on pets) their quilts. I'm not sure it would keep someone from stealing them but it could help clear up ownership. I think there needs to be a quilt locator like those in the iPhone. Still it would be best if criminals would just NOT steal other peoples treasures!

  19. This alert has been sent out to all the members of the Tidewater Quilters Guild in Virginia Beach/Norfolk/Chesapeake, Virginia. I hope all the quilts and class materials are found.


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